This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shikha Sharma. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Not Nakshatras Or An Angry God, The Floods In Bihar Are Our Own Doing Mr Politician

More from Shikha Sharma

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

Over the course of the last few days, 148 people have died in India due to flooding. Large parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been underwater due to untimely, torrential rains, with the country receiving the highest ever rainfall recorded in the last 25 years. The floods in UP and Bihar come on the heels of similar ones that ravaged parts of Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka in August, in a pattern that is getting repetitive over the years.

According to scientists, this trend is not an anomaly in India, but the ‘new normal’. And climate change, unplanned urban growth, and environmental degradation are responsible for it. 

Yet, many leaders seem to be playing blind to these facts – blaming the inclement climate on everything from nakshatras to people’s sins.

Speaking to media, while Bihar Chief Minister blamed ‘nature’ for the situation in Bihar, Union Minister Ashwini Choubey went a step further and blamed “Hathiya Nakshatra” for the flood-like situation. When Kerala witnessed heavy flooding earlier this year, a pentecostal minister ascribed it to the ‘sins of the people of Kerala’.

In another era, we would have probably laughed off such incredulous claims. But today, as millions in the country suffer from the consequences of a disaster that’s as man-made as natural,  we thought it essential to break down the real reasons for these disasters for our esteemed, ignoramus leaders. Read on, sires. This is useful information.

So, What Caused The Bihar Floods You Ask? 

No, it’s not a constellation that caused the downpour in Bihar, Mr Choubey. The immediate reason for the dire situation in Bihar and UP is untimely and out of season rainfall. Ideally, the rains should have receded by now, but instead, we are on course for experiencing the wettest September in 102 years!

To be clear, India’s summer monsoon has always been unpredictable and has often precipitated floods. Lately, however, experts say that India is witnessing a new phase of erratic and more pronounced monsoons.

For example, when the monsoon season began this year, key parts of India witnessed extreme drought-like situation. In June, there was a 33% shortfall in rainfall, while in September, the average rainfall is already 48% above normal. 

These changes can be ascribed to one phenomenon: Climate Change. An increasingly warming Arabian sea is drastically changing the monsoon cycle, and having an unprecedented impact on climatic conditions across the country. In a study published last year, scientists found that if the global mean temperature rises above 1.5 degrees, short bursts of heavy rainfall, as witnessed presently, are likely to increase by 20%

Extreme precipitation events are on the rise in large parts of India, according to research due to which India will increasingly witness droughts, followed by devastating rains in alternation.

It’s The Government’s Policies Too That Are Wreaking Havoc!

This is where you need to take specific notice, Mr Politician. Because disastrous development practices followed by the government and unplanned urbanisation is one of the main reasons for things getting worse. 

Take Kerala, for example. The unprecedented floods in Kerala were also linked to the rampant destruction in the Western Ghats, the biodiversity hotspot of the world – a move successive governments approved. The destruction of forest cover due to mining has triggered landslides in Kerala and Uttarakhand in the past. 

The reckless construction over flood plains, wetlands and riverbeds – all approved by those in positions of power –  has meant that the natural buffers against flooding no longer exist in many areas. In cities, where every part is being plastered over with cement, without adequate planning, the consequences are for all to see.

For example, in Patna, the government built flyovers and buildings indiscriminately, at the expense of the city’s critical wetlands – resulting in disastrous results.

Studies show that unplanned urbanisation increases the risk of flooding. With India set to add 416 million people to its urban population by 2050, sprawling Indian cities are now being built on wetlands and floodplains. The result – booming urbanisation due to a fast-growing population is resulting in more impervious areas, less infiltration, and hence greater flood peak and runoff.

Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay have found that urban heat islands could be intensifying thunderstorms over Mumbai.

I know it’s easy to blame the floods on a remote constellation, or an imaginary God. It’s definitely easier than acknowledging the mess that we are in or taking concrete steps. 

But now that we have taken the pains to make you understand the issue, our advice to you would be just this: For God’s sake, just do your job. 

You must be to comment.

More from Shikha Sharma

Similar Posts

By Paribha Vashist

By Prabhat Misra

By Bedanta Upadhyay

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below